Spanish fishermen can capture almost 25 pct of EU swordfish TAC
2017-08-08 12:16:06   copyfrom:    hits:

Spanish fishermen quota will amount 1,822 49 tonnes, 24 6 per cent of the total EU (Photo: Rene Heuzey WWF - FIS

Spanish fishermen quota will amount 1,822.49 tonnes, 24.6 per cent of the total EU (Photo: Rene Heuzey/WWF - FIS)


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Friday, August 04, 2017, 21:30 (GMT + 9)


Spanish fishermen will this year have a significant quota of the Mediterranean swordfish fishing stock this year, which will amount to 1,822.49 tonnes, 24.6 per cent of the total allocated to the European Union (EU).

This is apparent from the amendment of the European Council Regulation on TACs and fishing quotas for the 2017 financial year, allocating, for the first time, the fishing opportunities for this species in Mediterranean waters. The novelty is the result of the recovery plan launched for this species. The modification of said regulation will be applicable from January 1, 2017.

In total, 78 surface longline vessels will be able to access these catches. The General Secretariat of Fisheries has already agreed on a distribution of individual quotas per vessel with the sector itself, which will be reflected in a Ministerial Order that is in an advanced processing stage.

The quotas of each vessel will depend on their historical catches, vessel size and accredited employment. It also reserves 2.7 per cent of the total quota for possible by-catches in trawl and purse seine small pelagic fisheries in Mediterranean waters.

This stock is a priority for Spain because it maintains the bulk of the surface longline fleet activity, operating in the Mediterranean. In addition, the Spanish swordfish fleet has made an important modernization effort in recent years, improving its selectivity and the swordfish stock capture pattern.

The quota reached is the result of a complex process of negotiations within the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and the EU.

At its annual meeting in November 2016, ICCAT established an ambitious recovery plan for this stock, given its critical status endorsed by the Standing Committee on Research and Statistics. For the first time, a TAC of 10,500 tonnes was set for 2017 and a progressive annual reduction of 3 per cent.

The distribution of quotas at the level of Contracting Parties was delegated to a working group established for this purpose, which carried out the negotiations in Madrid in February.

The division among Member States has required a major effort within the Council. The EU reached a commitment solution, setting 2010-2014 as the reference period, obtaining a quota of 7,410 tonnes, representing 70.6 per cent of the TAC.

Spain acceded to this agreement with the Commission's commitment not to condition the allocation between Member States to this reference period, which was finally established in 2012-2015, years in which Spain had high catches.

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